Boku Upgrades Mobile Payments Platform; Adds 12 New Publisher Partners

Boku Phone

Mobile payments provider Boku is gaining traction, seemingly evolving into the chosen platform for social and casual gaming companies that want to make it easier for their users to pay for virtual goods and downloads on-the-go.

The company — which officially launched its service in June — already counted big publishers like Playfish and Slide as clients; now it has added 12 new partners, including (co-founder Toby Rowland is extremely bullish on the “freemium” model), dating game-creators Snap Interactive and Zoosk, as well as MMORPG-creator Perfect World.

Boku says the new deals have extended its reach by over 250 games, with users in 56 countries — but it does have competition. Rivals include Zong — which recently became one of first mobile payments companies to offer credit and debit-based payments, as opposed to carrier-based billing — Nokia-backed Obopay, and of course, PayPal.

The company has upgraded its platform to help differentiate, building in the ability for apps to instantly discern whether its charging a user’s landline or mobile phone, automatic carrier recognition, and support for 20 languages. Boku was founded in 2008; backed by $13 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures, it acquired smaller payments services Paymo and Mobillcash this summer.

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